From child to adult

Sophia Hill, who has autism, photographed by Robin Hammond

Making the transition from child to adult is an important time in an individual's life. For someone with autism it is a time of planning and securing future direction.

A transition plan should include:

  • housing options
  • further and higher education
  • employment
  • leisure

The transition process involves the large step from child to adult services. For individuals with autism, it is important to ensure that they are involved, prepared and understand the changes, which are likely to happen as they reach 16.

Parents may have to work hard to ensure all services co-operate to establish an appropriate transition plan that meets the needs of the individual.

What is a transition plan?
A transition plan is a detailed document that highlights the future needs of an individual and how they will be met. It addresses important areas such as further education, health, housing, transport, work, relationships and hobbies.

A transition plan recognises that an individual's needs may alter over time and can be changed to suit them.

The transition plan should not only discuss services and support available, but other 'ideal' services that may not be available at the time, but would help the individual if they were available.

When should a transition plan be made?
If a child has a statement of special educational needs then this process will happen automatically when they reach Year 9 (the year of their 14th birthday). The main time for discussing transition planning is at the child's annual reviews. From Year 9, annual reviews are renamed transition reviews.

The transition plan plays an essential role during the last years of statutory education and contributes to the smooth and successful move into adult services. It ensures that all the needs of the individual are being met appropriately by all agencies.

What are the transition reviews for?
Annual transition reviews provide the opportunity for:

  • the child and their family to express their strengths, concerns, hopes and wishes for the future
  • discussion about what support the individual will require in the future from agencies, such as social services, housing, health, employment and Connexions
  • all professionals and representatives from agencies relating to both child and adult services to meet and discuss their present role and their proposed role in the individual's future

Further information

The National Autistic Society website has detailed information on Transition planning at the age of 14.

Autism: social situations

Autism is a developmental disorder affecting the way people interact with the world. This film enacts how someone with autism can struggle to understand the rules of conversation, making social situations difficult.

Media last reviewed: 06/11/2013

Next review due: 06/11/2015

Page last reviewed: 25/02/2012

Next review due: 25/02/2014

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